Friday, November 08, 2019

Please look out for bikers

“Drivers overtaking bike riders are the biggest cause of death among cyclists, says a study released Tuesday by the National Transportation Safety Board. Bike safety is a growing problem that appears to be getting more worrisome, and, the board reported, “current available data likely underestimate the level of bicycling activity in the United States.” In 2017, 806 cyclists died in crashes with motor vehicles, which it found “was comparable to the deaths resulting from railroad or marine accidents and more than twice the number of deaths resulting from aviation accidents in the same year.” Last year, the death toll jumped to 857, its highest since 1990. The NTSB report, its most comprehensive look at bicycle safety in 47 years, comes as both Republicans and Democrats in Congress are pushing hard to provide more funding for what they see as a growing problem."

Call me crazy, but I don't expect Congress to solve this--they are much too busy trying to undo the election of 2016. However, why not lessen the hype on bicycles being a healthy lifestyle exercise and answer to fossil fuel global warming? Let's crack down on drivers using their cell phones--we lived nicely for years without talking on phones while driving. You might just save some bikers from death or injury.

I've looked at the report,…/Documen…/2019-DCA18SS002-abstract.pdf and unfortunately, it only includes the number of deaths, not the increase in bicyclists sharing the roads (if there is such a figure which would give the real story). Doesn't include the age of the bikers--is this like the huge increase in number of falls among the elderly--the boomers are taking more chances? Is there really any evidence that ripping up streets to create narrowing spaces for cars with bike lanes is actually decreasing accidents, or does it just encourage more bikers who eventually merge on to more dangerous roadways which have no protected lanes? That's what I think about when I see numbers, without rates, without percentage.

If accidents go up 2x, but the number of bikers has also gone up by 4x, then that needs to be included in the report before suggesting legislation and expensive regulations. Also, if it took 30 years to get to the 1990 number, then what has changed? Cell phones and age of riders trying to be "woke" is still my guess.

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